Last week I did a blog on mistakes people make that might hinder their weight loss. I touched on the concept of dieting, eating the wrong kinds of salad, eating too much of a good thing and depriving yourself of special treats. Today, I want to continue with that theme and share 5 more things that could be preventing you from getting results. If any of these pertain to you, just work on improving. You should be striving for progress, not perfection. Here's to loving the incredible body of yours!
1. Over training
Overtraining is a factor in a lot of chronic fatigue. It's the reason people get injured when they shouldn't, AND it's a culprit in why you don't see results faster.
When you are able to give 100% to the workout you are doing, you will get more out of it. So it follows that you want to be ABLE to give 100% by being fully recovered from the last one. During your workout, you're actually creating inflammation in the muscle tissue and tearing it down.
For a healthy person (one who is well rested, well nourished and injury free), this is ideal because that tissue grows back stronger than ever AFTER your workout when you rest.
Exercising too much can also set you up for chronic tiredness eventually, lack of weight loss (your system is stressed out, which makes it hold onto body fat) and you're more likely to get injured on muscle tissue that hasn't fully recovered.
This is why you don't want to over train, or exercise with high intensity every day. I personally recommend a variety of training modalities that include HIIT, strength training and stretching/balance exercises. Including a variety will challenge your body differently, keep your muscles guessing, and prevent over training. You'll need to experiment to find out your sweet spot - but for me personally I focus on doing 2-3 resistance style workouts per week (either using my bodyweight, or some equipment), 3 cardio sessions per week - one being a HIIT or Tabata workout and the other being either a run, a bike a swim or tennis. I always have pilates/yoga in the mix and I usually take a day off. As a fitness professional, it's hard to avoid over training because I am active most days. I just try to be aware of the type of workouts I'm doing daily, and mindful of my energy levels. We're all in different places, with varying goals - so let your fitness level and the way your body feels after you workout be your guide. The biggest thing is to listen to your body. If you find yourself always tired, getting injured, or always sore, REST!
2: Skipping Meals
One of the MOST important parts to seeing results is fueling your body often and with the nutrient dense foods. If you are very active, you need to replenish your body with vitamins and minerals that were lost during your workout. If you practice Intermittent Fasting, eating your calories during an 8 hour window, for example, that is not the same and is actually going to benefit your body.
Skipping meals like lunch or dinner does NOT equate to losing weight. In fact, the opposite happens. When you deprive your body of its energy source, it figures it ought to conserve energy and will actually hold on to fat stores.
The other thing that will mess you up when you don't eat is you'll be more likely to play that mental game with yourself like, I didn't have lunch, so this piece of chocolate cake is not a big deal. Many people also tend to eat very little for breakfast or lunch and then tend to overeat at dinner. Ideally, you would eat 1400-2000 calories a day depending on your age and activity level.
What's more, skipping meals also sets you up for cravings -because your body just needs energy, and reaching for the fastest source of it, sugar, is a handy way to get some. But that has a slew of unhealthy consequences, as I'm sure you know.
You see, your body likes to be in a state of constant equilibrium-that’s what hunger is for-to remind you to eat so you can maintain a steady energy state. Skipping meals will usually make you feel tired, lessen your ability to focus, create cravings, and make you hold onto your body fat.
It's totally fine if you eat 5 times a day, 3 times a day or within a window of time. (intermittent fasting) Just be sure to eat ENOUGH food daily so that you feel satisfied and full, and ensure its from nutrient dense sources, so you get the benefits and reap the rewards.
3: Not getting enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep is such a SNEAKY way that we can sabotage our results. A typical day for a lot of people is to get up early, prioritize their workout, skip breakfast, have a few drinks after work, and then after a long day stay up late to cram in just a little extra "me time."
Unfortunately, this is like a perfect storm for metabolic meltdown, and the best way to keep padding your waistline. I already talked about what happens when you skip meals, but skipping sleep is also terrible for our health. It can also lead to the development of insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure
Getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night can lead to weight gain and increased cravings for unhealthy foods.
Likewise, lack of sleep can lead to the development of many chronic diseases. It also disrupts important metabolic pathways that are involved in your energy balance and regulation which in turn affects your results.
Getting enough sleep allows you to perform better, makes you happier, regulates your hormones (insulin), increases the production of Human Growth Hormone, reduces stress levels, improves focus, creativity, memory and regulates and reduces inflammation. If you struggle with getting 7 more hours of sleep at night, try shutting down your electronics an hour before bed, read a good book ( but not so good that you can't put it down), wear a mask to cover your eyes, keep the blinds closed, or take some melatonin, a natural supplement that promotes good sleep.
We all have sources of stress in our lives but learning ways to combat it and reduce it is key to seeing results. Stress raises your levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body. Cortisol, in its normal capacity, has several positive roles in the body, but as it pertains to this topic, it also has the ability to raise blood glucose levels. In times of stress, our bodies go into "flight or fight mode." When this happens, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. In the short-term, the adrenaline reduces your hunger levels as your blood flows away from the internal organs to your larger muscles to help you defend yourself. However, once the effects of adrenaline wear off, we are left with cortisol.
This cortisol tells your body it's time to replenish your food supply but we are also left with excess amounts at the same time. The excess levels of cortisol slows down your metabolism to maintain an adequate supply of glucose in your blood in order to fight off any threat (stress).
Once the stressful event is over and our stress levels fall, our glucose levels remain high and that glucose gets stored as fat. Most notably visceral fat and dreaded belly fat.
So getting stressed about things you can't control can cause our stress hormones to rise, which in turn promotes storage of more belly fat, decreases our ability to get good rest and decreases quality of life.
That said, don’t stress yourself out about the little things. If you feel like you are stuck in a stressful situation, breathe. Focus on the things that are going right in your life; dwell on the things for which you are grateful. Gratitude is one my secret weapons when it comes to shifting my mindset from being anxious to being in control and competent. If you are facing a gargantuan project at work or at home, break your to-dos into manageable chunks. When it comes to exercise, even a 15 minute walk will help alleviate your stress levels. Oh, and always always always give others the benefit of the doubt and don’t get caught up in beating yourself up – know that YOU are in control of your thoughts and your actions. Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!
5: Not eating enough nutrient dense food
I referenced it earlier, and I'll say it again here. It is soooooooooo uber important that you are feeding your body nutrient dense foods that not only fuel it but prevent disease. Food truly is nature's medicine cabinet. Every time you eat, you're creating the foundation and tissue that make up the actual shape and structure of your body -(and every time you exercise, you're simply putting the finishing touches on the beautiful physique you've sculpted with what you put in your mouth)
So many people are walking around with nutrient deficiencies masquerading as CRAVINGS, that could be resolved by eating real, unprocessed foods.
A great way to get started is to think about 2-3 breakfast options that you like. (for me, it's eggs, quinoa bowls and smoothies). Then pick a few of your favorite clean entrees that could double for both lunch and dinner. Some of my favorite easy meals that are delicious, satisfying and quick are turkey burgers, chili, gluten free pizza, a hearty salad, and soup. I always try to include a lean protein, healthy fat and some good complex carbs at each meal. (it changes when I carb cycle, but it's all super healthy, and my body is nourished and repairs itself well)
I round those meals out with a couple of snacks that I make at the beginning of the week, like my cinnamon vanilla protein balls, hard boiled eggs, or an easy to make trail mix. Finally, I make a couple staple sides that I can doctor up as needed. Quinoa, brown rice, zoodles, cauliflower rice, sweet potatoes are all great starters.
For so many reasons, it is essential that you take your eating just as seriously as you take your workouts. Your body's shape comes from 80% of what you are putting in your mouth. My clients have found the secret sauce and are shedding the weight (without feeling deprived) and keeping it off. For that reason, I am sharing my meal plan, so you can take advantage of the amazing benefits of eating clean and carb cycling as well. If you would like to get the same kind of results that they are getting......you will definitely want to check out my 4 week carb cycling plan. I give you everything you need to be successful. Ingredient lists, shopping lists, suggestions for meal prep, and 30 days of delicious meals that taste absolutely amazing.
While it's easy to get focused on our workouts, remember this very important piece of the equation. There is no exercise plan in the world that can out-train poor nutrition.
Well, there you go! If you find yourself stuck with your weight loss, try to implement some of these strategies. The results, both internal and external, are sure to follow.
Helping you become the BEST version of YOU!